According to the Archives of the Vatican
Pierre Blet SJ
“This is the first one-volume history, based on the Vatican archives, of Pope Pous XII and his dealing with the contesting powers and the the Jews during World War II. Criticized after his death for allegedly doing too little to alleviate the plight of Jews trapped by the war, Pius XII emerges on these pages as far more complex a man and more energetic in work for peace than the record heretofore suggested.
“The archives of the Vatican Secretariat of State let us follow day-by-day, even hour-by-hour, the work of the pope and his associates. Here we can for both the public statements and the private maneuverings of the Holy See to forestall the ruin of Europe and its people.
“Allegations concerning the so-called ‘silence’ of the pope sprang into public consciousness in the 1960s with the appearance of Rolf Hochhuth’s play The Deputy. That drama and other critics maintained the Pius XII, in order to protect the interests of the church, made only ineffective efforts to save European Jews who fell into Nazi hands.
“The actual record indicates otherwise. Not only did the pontiff intercede frequently with German diplomatic and military leaders, but Vatican agencies, in response to the pope’s orders, took active steps to protect Jews and others threatened with deportation. Vatican radio carried the message into Germany itself. The pope’s Christmas message in 1942 denounced the cruelty of the conflict in which ‘hundreds of thousands of people, through no fault of their own and at a times only because of their nationality and race, are destined to be killed …’
“If Pius XII did not use language as strong as some wanted, the author maintains the pope’s reserve was far from indifference, but was, in fact, calculated to absorb Nazi brutality to Christians and Jews alike.
“The Vatican diplomatic archives covering the period of World War II were ordered opened by Pope Paul XI in 1964. Twelve volumes of documents were eventually published. Pierre Blet, SJ, one of the project’s editors, gathered the findings in this one-volume history that appeared in France in 1997.” [From the cover]
Paulist Press, ©1997, Hard cover, 304 pages
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